08 February 2011


Imperial Cipher of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566), ca. 1555

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid. -
Søren Kierkegaard


  1. Not sure whether this comes under the Big Society banner - or whether it was staged as a training video for how our lives will become when police on the beat is just a funny old legend we tell our grandchildren about.


    She plunged into the gang, swinging her handbag with two hands, and sent the men running for their transport as the staff at Michael Jones Jewellers in Northampton town centre managed to bring down security shutters.

    Two of the men were so unsettled by the unlikely crime fighter that they overturned their scooter as they attempted to flee.

    Onlookers encouraged by the woman's bravery then came to her aid and one of the men was pinned to the ground before police arrived.


    It really is worth watching the video.

    It might also be worth wondering why the person who filmed it thought that was the best course of action, rather than running to actually help.

    And why it took a woman and her handbag to rouse the plentiful supply of people immediately available into taking action, including a rufty-tufty builder type with big [society] workboots and yellow dayglo tabard.

    It seems we are all just waiting, immobilised and impotent, until someone gives the signal, then our brains click and we rush into action.

  2. ”...It seems we are all just waiting, immobilised and impotent, until someone gives the signal, then our brains click and we rush into action...”

    Same as it ever was – there are some that do, and more that don’t.

    Anyway, I'm off to knack a copper - who's in?

  3. morning all


    doubt whether you have seen the permanent roma camps in central rome which are without sanitation and running water, and basically exist on mountains of rubbish......
    some of the slums i've seen in india and indonesia are comparatively "decent" i.e. brick built, organised, running water and toilets and there are some that are on the same inhuman level as those in italy...of course to say slums are decent is oxymoronic... thought that didn't need to be pointed out really......

    dave from france

    i suggest you extend your boycott to italian veg as well.....here is a video from the BBC about rosarno in italy and the conditions people exist in..


  4. Same as it ever was – there are some that do, and more that don’t.

    Yes, I agree.

    Although, it has to be wondered whether the apparent intensely relaxed attitude the government has to cuddling and cosseting the rich and shoving lighted bamboos under the fingernails of the poor will lead to an imbalance in that otherwise reliable and predictable interplay between the Do and Don't teams.

    Once people see that being rich is not living within the two-week-wage-packet-buffer-zone between profligacy and penury and that the plastic funny-money magically generated invisibly and digitally by the swaggering spendthrift credit card is actually a form of bondage when the good times roll over the cliff, perhaps they will organise a surge.

    Anyway, I'm off to knack a copper - who's in?

    Only if I can come as red-coat-handbag-lady.

    I think it will give us a temporary tactical advantage, as well as making a bit of media mayhem.

    Shall we book YouTube for the filming?

    I'm ready for my close-up now, Mr de Mille.

  5. ”...perhaps they will organise a surge...”

    Well, as long as “they” do, eh?

    ”...as well as making a bit of media mayhem...”

    *Thinks* Wonder what Laurie Penny’s diary’s looking like for this afternoon?

  6. "It does raise issues, though – because despite what some people inevitably believe, my writing is not a self-promotion exercise. Far from it. I care passionately about the politics and the movements I am engaged with, and I am having to learn very fast, by trial and error, how I can best behave in order to be useful to those movements. I’m having to anticipate what I might do or say that might damage or cause divisions within the causes with which I am associated. There is, bluntly, a lot more I can do now to fuck stuff up."

    now guess who.........

  7. I am having to learn very fast, by trial and error, how I can best behave in order to be useful to those movements.

    You can never go too far wrong by just saying "Cunt" at inappropriate moments.

    If in doubt, add the odd "Fuck".

    It makes you sound like a riot grrrl.

    Well, as long as “they” do, eh?


    I'll take your prawn and raise you two cannon-fodder.

  8. @gandolfo:

    So she’s writing at length about, err, keeping schtumm?

    God, she’s the Sparts’ very own Liz Jones.

  9. my writing is not a self-promotion exercise. Far from it.
    !!! And what about the media-tartery? She may be well-intentioned, but there's a careerist steak running right through her, and what's worse an astounding level of ignorant detachment.I guess that's an apology of sorts. Will it lead to humility, a recognition that she may not be best placed to comment, so shouldn't? When contacted by a media outlet, will she signpost them on to someone with better knowledge or lived experience of the issues, or will she hog the limelight?

  10. Penny Arcade - International Media Star!

    I was overtaken with gulping nausea at this little prototype awards ceremony onanism-fest.

    Honestly, truly, slightly mentally unhinged in a quirky, ditzy, cockeyed-but-giggly-appealing way and superficially deeply, this is not all about me, me, me, me, me, me, me.

    I really care about the little people now I am a media tzarina. Now, where is that stupid bitch of a make-up girl?

    Nine months ago I had just over a thousand Twitter followers; now it’s nearly thirteen thousand. Nine months ago it was a huge nerve-wracking fiasco for me to talk on a regional radio driveshow; last month I was a panellist on Any Questions. Nine months ago I was a blogger in the process of trying to improve my writing in the hopes of someday, maybe, being a ‘proper’ commentator’; I’m now a columnist for the country’s foremost leftwing magazine, earning a living as a full-time comment-and-features journo, and have written opinion pieces for the Guardian, the Evening Standard, the Independent and others. I got to talk at the Fabian Society conference! People from the BBC sometimes ring me up and ask what I think about things!

  11. It is, however, a brilliant illustration of how hustle, chance, blind luck, enough money, mixing with the right people and the uninquisitive and credulous media machine can propel the most unlikely and least qualified into prominence and positions of influence.

    Less a reason to be outraged that a youngster on the make takes the opportunities unwisely offered and more an illustration that even those who are established in media whoredom should not be believed or trusted unless strapped to the ducking-stool after everything they write or say.

  12. but AB penz is really so down to earth, almost one of us.........look

    "The biggest mistake, the one I regret the most actually, is neglecting my share of the housework with all the work and chores and running around I've been doing, with the result that it now probably seems, to my lovely and long-suffering housemates, like I suddenly think I'm too good for the washing up."

    bet her house-mates hate her guts......and bet she thinks she really is too good for such banalities as washing up.....no doubt is going to employ someone (male) to do it for her in the name of socialism and equality.....

  13. Yeah well, Ipsos Mori ring me up all the time to ask what I think about things!!

    In your fucking face Laurie 'spend a' Penny, in your face!!

  14. Ah well, take consolation from the thought that nemesis rarely trails too far behind hubris...

  15. OK - I'm going to try Harvey Nichols for the red coat and bag and if I have no luck, I will text BrusselesqueParps for fashion advice for the man-woman-about-town.

    Shall I bring my own policeman?

  16. ah ah ah he lives a Lazarus moment ........

    james where have you been..........?? you alright??

  17. AB
    you could borrow SKermit for the morning sure he'd be willing and able.......

  18. James

    Good to see you are apparently OK.

    Gotta go.

  19. gandolfo

    Isn't that cheating?

  20. My electricity/internet's been really shonky of late, so posting's been a bit of a mission.

    I have managed to read most threads, by downloading in the few seconds that everything all works, and before the big, burly Internet bouncer tells me that I'm not on the list, and should fuck off accordingly!!

  21. Great, now I've cleared the thread!!

    See, this is why I'm not allowed to play out with other people!!

  22. james

    we were concerned that you had been washed away....! How are thangs.....?

  23. Nah, I'm good, thanks.

    My considerable, *ahem*, physique, kept me anchored!!

    And, touchwood, everything's OKish for now, rain wise. Ironically, in fact, it hasn't rained enough the last week or so, and that's contributed to some of the power/Internet issues.

    Still, them's the breaks...

  24. Lovely to see you, James. Here's wishing you the proper amount of rain to give you reliable internet but keep you from floating away.

  25. Thanks, Montana!

    (And hope you feel better soon!)

  26. Also, while I'm able, could I please put out my own APB for:

    The Pipster, Monkeyfish, and Tascia (To whom I owe a Tetley teabag!)??

  27. (APB means 'keep an eye out/has anyone seen/does anybody know the whereabouts of...', btw, for those of you who aren't avid viewers of COPS, Dog The Bounty Hunter or any other crime themed televisual tour de forces...)

  28. Havent seen Monkeyfish for ages, not sure where he's gone.

  29. Hi all!

    A weekend in wild Wales and I'm back in the room!

    Just stumbled upon this poster NeilWilson...

    Clear comments on economics and debt. (Apols if anyone has come across him before)

    Text to appear as link

  30. That sounds like a lovely break, LaRit. Where did you go? I miss the wilds of wales.

  31. A very interesting movement in France at the moment. Over the last three years, Sarkozy and especially the former Minister of Justice Rachida Dati have slashed budgets and closed down half the courts in France. At the same time, Sarko and ministers have been trying to deflect public anger by blaming judges for all the resulting problems.

    The other week a young woman was murdered and, as usual, Sarkozy tried to blame the police and judges. Apparently, this was the last straw and the judges of France are planning to strike. There's a big meeting today and even the judges of the Cour de Cassation - basically France's highest court - are discussing possible action.

    Antiterrorist judge Marc Trévidic, for instance, interviewed on national radio, said Sarkozy was a repeat offender in his attacks on judges, and his justice policies were "hot air". The judge, president of the French Association of Investigating Magistrates, ironically suggested a fixed sentence for Sarkozy as repeat offenders should be treated with severity.

    This is the first time that judges as a whole have entered into open conflict with the government. There are serious fears that Sarkozy is destroying the neutrality of the French judiciary and trying to make judges answerable to - and in many cases controlled by - the political authorities.

    The French judicial system is now 37th in Europe for the percentage of PIB devoted to it (only 2.5%).

  32. Hi folks, thought you might be interested in this leaked snippet of Broadway's latest must-see extravaganza.

    'Spiderpenny - the new muti-million dollar musical!'

    (Music: Bono, The Edge
    Lyrics: Nick Clegg, Sunny Hyundai, Sir Tim Rice.
    Political Ideolgy Development: Dave Spart, Julie Bindel, Bianca Jagger)

    with great power,comes great responsibility!

    Act 1, Scene 1:

    Housemate 1:And remember, young lady, that responsiblity also includes washing up and putting out the bins.

    LauriePennyParker: Shan't! And you can't make me. Anyways, I have to be on the telly in ten minutes to talk about tuition fees in Uzbekistan.

    Housemate 2 Well, you can do it when you get back tonight.

    LauriePennyParker Can't! I'm off to Tahrir Square to introduce democracy to some Egyptian cunts.

    Housemate 1 I really wish you wouldn't use that dreadful word under my roof.

    LauriePennyParker Yeah well, property is theft, innit? You bourgeoise N. London cunt. And it's empowering. Not that you'd understand.

    Housemate 2 Right, that's it! We're throwing you out. Pack your suitcase, missy.

    LauriePennyParker (lower lip wobbling) Fuck! Homeless again. (cheers up and then scribbles furiously on her Blackberry) Still, that's another nice little earner from the New Statesman.
    (exits through the window on a trapeze wire)

    Housemate 1 Thank fuck for that! I thought we'd never get rid of her.

    Housemate 2 Yeah. She's an awful cunt, isn't she?


    Act 1 Scene 2 - Somewhere in the desert in Helmand province...

  33. Hiya MeerKatjie,

    I was in Denbighshire.... at my Mum's. The weather was mad and stormy the whole time. It was nice to be tucked up in bed listening to the rain lashing the windows and the wind howling. Went to Rhyl on Sunday to walk along the promenade... the sea was pretty spectacular (if muddy!) :)

  34. Dog the Bounty Hunter is shown in Brazil??? God, that makes me sad and ashamed to be an American. Not half as sad and ashamed to be an American as some of the comments on the thread about Bush II cancelling a trip to Switzerland, but sad and ashamed, nonetheless.

    (Though, happily, it is apparently not a violation of Cif community standards to call Bush II 'chickenshit'.)

  35. @James..

    Just been given a shove..

    Not been reading too much on here lately, since returning to work post crimbo, the workload has been manic, even oppressive. I'm at home today to get away from the mayhem, and to be somewhere where I am allowed to concentrate for longer than 5 mins. Weekends seem to be filled to capacity, and I don't seem to be able to find the time to post.

    If I remember correctly.. you had a torrid time with those showers over there in the big Bra, glad you came out of it ok, but must have been hellish for those caught up in the worst of it.

    Will try to keep up.. no promises though !

  36. PIB = GDP (Sorry, I left that in French)

  37. In fairness, Penny Dreadful can give masterclasses in nimble footwork. AT and Gando have already posted the "New Leaf" blog from February 3rd.

    But go back a day. On February 2nd, her "In Defence of Cuntgate" article appeared on the New Statesman site. It's since been sanitized, but the original read "I gestured to one man in the 2nd row, a respected if eccentric activist with a history of making sexist jokes who had turned up to the meeting wearing a giant green Viking helmet."

    Jacob, not surprisingly, went off on one. After all, he's never going to be this famous again. Laurie sailed as close as she could to saying "Jacob Bard-Cunt was there, dressed like a cunt and I called him a cunt. The cunt."

    The next day, a Damscene conversion. As a de facto leader of a leaderless revolution (shurely shome mishtake?) she has the radical world on her shoulders. "It means accepting a certain level of responsibility. It means no longer posting quite so many profanities and details of my favourite bedroom activities in my Facebook profile. It means absolute integrity, being more mature and less impulsive."

    So no calling beardy virgins 'cunts' then? "If I call a fellow activist a cunt, it’s not just playful snark, it’s a big deal. If I tweet momentary disillusion with a protest movement, it might actively dishearten a few hundred people involved, and that matters." Shit. That's some awesome responsibility right there.

    So follow the bouncing ball. Escalate a tweet spat into a public bitchslapping, milk a couple of articles out if it and just as it's reached it's zenith, head off criticism by professing all that kind of thing behind you, the day after the most visible article is published.

    That, my friends, is why Penny Dreadful is famous and you're not. You cunts.

    Guys, I love you. Solidarty.

    Later today: Bidisha explained in 5 words or less, with the aid of a Venn diagram and a condom stuffed with cauliflower.

  38. @RapidEddie

    That's "5 words or fewer". Let's try and keep standards up.

  39. Hahaha Scherfig!

    And as if anything couldn't get more vacuous in professional 'elites' land, there's a new Musical about to open - the subject? Shoes.

    The country's going to hell in a handcart, but hey never mind, we'll do a new west end show dedicated to fucking shoes.

    We really are at the collapse of the Roman Empire-style tipping point.

  40. P.S. If anyone would like to feel sorry for me:

    It is currently -25° and I'm staying home from work today with a migraine. Would love to take something for it, but currently to nauseated to keep anything down.

  41. Too nauseated to spell correctly, too.


  42. Oh you poor thing, Montana. Migraine is evil.
    Can you get an anti-emitic or two down? That would then help you manage the migraine tabs. (Are you on triptans?)

  43. And just been listening to that smug bastard the 'Mayor of Doncaster' justifying the closure of 14 of 26 public libraries by saying.... "would you prefer us tpo cut services to the elderly?"

    and this one for posterity....

    "we've got all these libraries and the worst literacy rates in Europe blah, blah, blah"

    1. The debate is being allowed to be framed in terms of 'either/or' - how long before they say funding for old people's services or funding for schools??? and as for trying to justify closing libraries by claiming 'literacy rates are low', incredible!!!!

    Not as fucking low as they were before the setting-up of public libraries.

  44. spike

    so sarkozy's using berlusco's tactics of anti politics against magistrates, berlo is also an anti constitutionalist etc etc

    .....trust me won't be long till they're all at it...the new no politics politicians coming to a country near you soon.......


  45. Montana:

    God I can sympathise re: migraines, I go through periods were I get them all the time. Touchwood, not had one for a while.

    If you can't keep anything down, lavender oil on the temples and under your nose can really help.

  46. @Scherf:

    I had an idea for a series, where political heavy hitter Laurie Penny sorts out ailing societies around the world and turns them round, in the face of intransigence, obfuscation and secret police!

    In episode 1, Laurie packs her little red suitcase and heads off for the sunny West Bank. It’s a long way from the dreaming spires of her native Tower Hamlets, but it’s a country in a mess, frankly. There’s unexploded ordnance in the streets, its owners are squabbling amongst themselves about the way forward, the local currency isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, and they’ve got a big problem with the neighbours. Can Laurie do what generations of diplomats have failed to do, and use Twitter and her platform in The Staggers to turn this failing little enclave into a thriving, shiny, modern state worthy of inclusion in the roster of the world’s great 21st century nations?

    It’s on Al Jazeera weeknights from 21h00 CET. And Sky One HD as well, which is surprising.

  47. Montana

    I haven't actually seen 'The Dog' in Brazil yet, I saw it back in the UK, so that's probably something to cling to.
    (Although we do get 'Jerseylicious' and the 'Real Housewives of everywhere' franchise, both of which make Dog seem positively classy and highbrow in comparison....)

    Feel better...


    No worries, was just wondering where you were..... Hope the workload gets better soon!!

  48. Spike, I stand corrected. You cunt.

  49. Given La Pennie's ability to weild the C word with such devastating, clinical-yet-emotive aplomb, surely we should be looking at any potential TV project from a Wild West angle, a la Deadwood, right!?

    I mean, that shit writes its-cunting-self, doesn't it?

  50. @Meerkatjie & LaRit:

    No anti-emitics or lavender oil in the house, I'm afraid. I only get these once or twice a year, so I've never bothered the doctor with trying to get something special for them.

  51. Afternoon all

    Sorry to hear you're unwell Montana. Look after yourself.And it's good to see you back James.Hope all's well with you.

  52. James,

    Where is my bloody tea bag ! When I hadn't received it, I had to go scrounging through the neighbours bins.. finally bagged a couple and have been using them ever since !

    Due to work all this weekend.. fly out Friday, back Sunday or Monday, dependant on work ! and I hate bloody flying, not quite at phobia level yet ! Only once have I had a Claustrophobic attack on a flight, and boy was that scary!! All I wanted to do was rip the door open to get out, but instead had to sit through the panic and try to block everything out. I hate being enclosed in an aluminium tin can.

  53. Hi James

    Missed you but had every confidence you would bob up again like a cork.


    Sorry to hear of your woes.

    I was going to ask you about home heating costs where you are - not today though- just try to keep warm.

  54. Tascia,

    Well, about the teabag...

    You see, we had earmarked funds for purchase of said beverage producing bag, but, our accountants, who happen to be the same financial geniuses behind the current government, assure us that the funds would be more efficiently spent elsewhere. Apparently for the same price, for example, we can build a new office complex on the moon. Of Saturn.

    Would you be willing to accept either an IOU, or a fairly complicated, yet certain-to-make-money-share in a Mimas based property enterprise??

    (Also, re-flying: some airlines 'sell' you the seats on the front row for a little extra, which a claustrophobic friend of mine reckons is worth every penny. Might be worth asking about!?)

  55. Thanks Leni, consider me 'bobbed'!?


  56. I like it, swifty. Or how about a remake of the old ITV 60's action classic, now called 'Woman in a Suitcase'.

    "Penny is a former radical activist who has been sacked from the New Statesman for making shit up. Unable to clear her name or return to London, Penny makes ends meet by working as a travelling blogger and angry columnist for hire, based in Scuntorpe and living out of her suitcase (hence the title). Her cases generally take her to different parts of England (and on a few occasions exotic Scotland.)"

    I would suggest Gwyneth Paltrow for the title role.

  57. @Scherf:

    Nice. I like James’ “Deadwood” idea as well...

    Scene. Interior of smoky saloon. Two bearded cowpokes sit at a table, sipping whiskey. A bowler-hatted barman polishes glasses.

    Cowpoke1: See hyar, ah reckon ah’m done with all this global pro-tes-ting, Ephraim. Mah life’s too short, what with the cost of fodder as high as it is and a-drivin’ these hyar cattle up the gosh durn Missouri River... (spits)
    Cowpoke2: Ah hear ya, Bill. Why Good Lord, only th’ other day, ah done gone gotten railroaded by the Major for a-settin’ up one o’ them thar eco-camps to get to pro-tes-tin’ about that thar power station in Kentshire (England) when ah shoulda been a-stockadin’ 400 head of prime Longhorn down in the Rio Grande...

    Saloon door bangs open: A “socialist, feminist, deviant, reprobate, queer, journalist, aspiring author, freelance copywriter and sometime blogger” enters in a flurry of sweary epithets

    Calamity Laurie (for it is she): I say, listen up you jolly old blinking rotters! I’ve come here all the way from Tower Hamlets (England) on a steam packet while offsetting my carbon footprint to shake you guys up! All you do is sit around moaning all day, you’re just like our old butler, err, Whatsisname. Wake up and smell the (Fairtrade Guatamalan) coffee, people! There’s glorious joyful hopeful youthful beautiful revolution in the...

    Cowpoke1: Ephraim?
    Cowpoke2 (draws pistol and fires)

    CL: Owww that really really hurt, you cunt... (expires).

    Cowpoke1: Heweee doggy, that was quite the potty mouth on that thar late departed young missy, Ephraim.
    Cowpoke2: The Good Lord ‘a mercy on her soul, Bill.

  58. If Gwyneth Paltrow isn't available, Stacey Slater from off of Eastenders is looking for work. Or you could think about a remake of Danger Man, with Lolz as Extremely Moderate Peril Woman, employed by a secret intelligence agency to text different despots and call them cunts.


    Hope you feel better soon.

  59. a-drivin’ these hyar cattle up the gosh durn Missouri River

    So that's what Bitters is doing.

  60. montana - hope you are feeling better and keeping warm!

    We don't know what cold is in this country - especially here in Wales!

    BTW I take it those temps were Celsius? Either way it sounds cold!

  61. could also do a remake of nikita....penzkita...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoTz17GWxjs i can see penz in this role.....kicking ass.......

  62. Meanwhile, Sunny Hyundai declares the student movement in England "essentially dead".

    Hey, why fight the enemy when you can each other throats? The cunts.

  63. Tascia

    I hate being enclosed in an aluminium tin can.

    Unless it's got 4 wheels, of course!

  64. @Annetan:

    Yes, temps quoted above are Celsius. Mind you, it's currently -20°C, which is -4° Fahrenheit, which doesn't sound any better, when you remember that 32°F is freezing.

    Temps on the wind-swept Midwestern prairies are often followed by the 'wind chill factor' temperature. Currently, the wind chill factor makes it feel like -29°C or -20°F.

    Point of trivia: -40°C and -40°F are the same.

  65. Joe rather sweetly and altoghether-altruistically-not-in-the-slightest-bit-so-he-could-play-video-games-all-dayedly offered to stay home from school today to take care of me. Must admit I wish there were someone else around right now who could make me some tea.

  66. How did that extra 'h' get into altogether??

  67. Afternoon all

    Montana - wish I could get Scotty to beam me up to Cowpat Junction and give you some TLC, hon. If there's one thing worse than being ill, it is being all on your own when you are ill.

    Virtual hugs and comfort flying your way, with a big mug of tea and some Jaffa cakes! xxx

    Re "some that do and some that don't", a bizarre situation arose in the Mags court the other day when I was persecuting. We took on a bit of extra work while we were waiting, and it was a chap who had breached his community order for the umpteenth time so his suspended sentence was going to be activated. Although there was a reasonably secure dock - ie shut behind glass with a door with an outside handle only - the usual procedure is for the Mags to let the Clerk know that the guy is being potted so she can bring the Serco guards in to make sure there is no attempt at flight - in that particular dock there is no linking corridor to the cells.

    They didn't let her know, and chappy had a friend in the public area at the back. He was told he was going down, friend said something or other in their own language, then friend disappeared out of the back of the court.

    Now there I am, a wimminz who has never even done a course in self-defence in my life, wandering over to the dock to put myself in front of the door in case chummy decided he was going to try and release his friend... I didn't even think about it til afterwards, but what the fuck would I have actually done if his mate did try and get him out of the dock and leg it?

    Strange the way the mind works... seems I must be a "fight" person rather than a "flight" person after all... eek... :O

  68. LaRit

    I caught a bit of that programme on R4. That fucking arsehole Richard D North or whoever he was made me scream at the car radio every time he spoke.

    On the plus side, it occurred to me that he comes across as such an arrogant, out of touch Tory toff that anyone listening to his inanities - "People can read books on Kindles, they don't need libraries to borrow books.... Well if the poor can't afford them, perhaps we should buy Kindles for the poor" was a fucking classic - would just be all the more determined to struggle to get the multi-millionnaire Hooray Henrys out of power as quick as they could.

    What a complete tosser he was. Cringe-makingly so.

  69. @BB

    Have you heard about France's judges' strike (see above)?

  70. I haven't Spike - I'll take a look.

    I remember when I was back last year that there were rumblings of discontent, though... aren't they planning to do away with Juges d'Instruction or something?

    I will read it and come back on it...

  71. @BB:

    “...Well if the poor can't afford them, perhaps we should buy Kindles for the poor...”

    Christ, I’d rather have the money, how much are they, £140 or something? It’s odd, I’ve never considered myself poor, but if we ever had £140 spare at the end of a month, I emphatically wouldn’t spend it on a fucking gadget.

    I think I need to have a word with my gaffer about a pay rise – seems I’m missing out on the good times here.

  72. Blimey.

    Ken "Slasher" Clarke is going down the same road here. 157 magistrates courts are disappearing (yet, strangely, they are not going to appeal any of the 3000-odd new offences that have appeared on the statute books over the last 15 years). Add to that means-tested Legal Aid for Crown Court cases and more and more people will think twice about electing to have their trial in front of a Jury. So, bigger workload, fewer courts... already in some areas it is 8 or 9 months wait to get a simple shoplifting-type offence listed for trial.

    Christ knows what is going to happen.

  73. @BB

    Here's the Huma article.


  74. Appeal? I meant "repeal".


    No idea of the law, me... :p

  75. Cheers spike - was just about to google Libe, but I think part of their site is behind a paywall now isn't it?

  76. I see American senators are demanding a public enquiry on whether the Labour government put on pressure for the release of al-Megrahi.

    I say go for it. Let's have an even broader public enquiry, looking at the CIA and FBI's withholding, manipulation and suppression of evidence and asking whether al-Megrahi really was the Lockerbie bomber and, if not, why US Intelligence apparently didn't want the real bomber found.

  77. @BB

    I wouldn't know. IMO, Libé was always very dodgy and has lurched even more to the right these days. I just read l'Huma, Le Canard and occasionally Le Monde.

  78. BB:

    Ah, Richard D. North was his name? Supercilious upper class twat and totally arrogant with it.

    Clearly a man who had the benefit of a private library the size of the reading room in the British Library and has never set foot in a Public Library and rubbed shoulders with the common people in his entire existence.


  79. Anyway, the revolving door at the Graun continues to revolve like a spinning top in a tornado...


    I might apply for a senior role at the Guardian - check out that fucker's annual bonus.

  80. Spike,

    was Libération not founded by Sartre? I don't know much about the French press but I always assumed Libération to be left of centre. Or is it now Blair "Third way" left of centre? ie not?


    there's gold in them there hand wringing liberal hills it would appear.

  81. I always buy Le Canard when I am over there, Spike. Didn't realise that about Libé, but prolly cos I don't read it all that often.

    Yes - we do want a full investigation into the Lockerbie Bombing.

  82. From SwiftyBoy's link above:

    GMG will save more than a quarter of a million pounds by making the role redundant. Brooks was paid a base salary of £265,000 and earned a further £64,000 in performance-related pay last year, according to GMG's annual report.

    In the statement released today Miller said: "On behalf of the GMG board I would like to thank Tim for everything he has done for GNM and the wider group over the last four and a half years.

    "He has been a passionate and dedicated servant of the company and its journalism, he has played a crucial role in the Guardian's ongoing digital transformation, and he has led the business with great integrity at a time of significant change and sometimes difficult choices. He leaves GNM with our best wishes for the future."

    Brooks said: "The best aspect of my work here has not been husbanding two of the finest news brands in the world; it has been the chance to work daily with the extraordinarily gifted and committed people of GNM. I will miss that greatly, and continue to consume their output with familial pride."


    Isn't it miraculous that all these people who earn massive amounts for what many would regard as a bit of a doddle all seem to speak the same language: Balderdash.

    Both Dave Cameron and Dave Clegg - around the time of the election, anyway - wanted to keep reminding us that they are merely simple servants, poised to rush to do our bidding at a moment's notice, with starched linen napkins folded impeccably over their cocked forearms.

    Hosni Mubarak said that maybe it was now time to think about stepping down, considering he had served Egypt for about thirty years and he was now getting a bit tired of all the pressures of reigning over an ungrateful population.

    Perhaps it's lucky they all see themselves as servants, though.

    Otherwise, we might all be tempted to see them as money-grabbing shysters peddling lies and robbing us blind.

    They is hactually very umble, though, innit.

  83. "We have a tentative new idea for this thread, and we'll tell you about it "officially" tomorrow."

    I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight. The anticipation is just too much!

  84. @The Duke

    It was co-founded by Sartre and Serge July, who was close to the PCF in the early 60s, but later turned Maoist. In 1980, July announced that leftism and counterculture were no longer relevant, and he relaunched Liberation as a basically Socialist-Party-leaning paper in 1981. Along with the PS, Libé drifted into the French 80s version of the "Third Way", i.e. right-wing economics and international "realpolitik", to such an extent that Henri Emmanuelli, a fairly senior PS minister, declared in the mid-80s that there was only one left-wing newspaper in France: L'Humanité.

    Edouard de Rothschild became Libé's main shareholder in 2005.

  85. Hm. Didn't Sartre die in 1980? Coincidence?

  86. Evening all

    Just read Monbiots piece on the govs iniquitous proposals re tax law changes.

    HANK - if you're lurking would love to hear your views on the situation.

  87. chekhov

    Assuming that is what I think it is (your quote) and having - quite inexplicably - read "Maoist" as "moist", I would imagine that as well as sleeplessness, there will be moistness, heat under collars, dewy eyes, backbiting, air-kisses and people falling asleep with little clenched fists and curled toes, hoping, dreaming, fantasising and making little sticky bedsheet stains over whether they will be one of the chosen and hatching plans of how they will strut and operate the squealing gates of their exclusive new community.

    Still, let's hope it all ends in tears, eh?

  88. Anyone on here from Manchester? I'm just reading the litany of cuts and it's making me feel a bit queasy to be honest.

  89. Sheff

    Second that, absolutely.

    I didn't suggest it today because I think it was suggested yesterday but I could be wrong.

  90. Ah bless. Denis MacShane did a Q&A for the December 2010/January 2011 edition of The Journalist magazine.

    How would you like to be remembered, Denis?

    "Someone who told the truth to power whether the power was on the right or the left, in government, in political establishments, and to self-important panjandrums who own, edit and write mainstream media."

    Is it possible to have a target that's too easy to administer a joyful kicking to?

  91. Come now, Eddie, it's obvious that Denis's definition of 'truth' is similar to what most of us would call 'up to one's oxters in the trough'.

  92. "Someone who told the truth to power whether the power was on the right or the left, in government, in political establishments, and to self-important panjandrums who own, edit and write mainstream media."

    ...or gobshite meretricious wriggling cunt for short.

  93. Sorry.

    Lolz Penz has just been on the phone.

    She says it can be shortened to simply "cunt" as long as she gets proper attribution.


    I used your cunt Lolz. Thanks.

    Sorry - thanx!

    I'll try to knock up a little punctuation heart or flower or something when I get some time.

    Do you draw them in place of the dots for the letter "i" by the way?

    Well kool, innit!

  94. "...or gobshite meretricious wriggling cunt for short. "

    AB - do me a favour and give a warning before you write things like this. Some people are trying to enjoy a quiet glass of Old Speckled Hen without it going all over their netbook screens... :o)

    Meerkatjie - I was feeling queasy when I was listening to the leader of the council on the radio this morning. He has lived through the recessions of the 80s and 90s and said that he has never had to make cuts as bad as these. What the hell is going on? :(

  95. AllyF is in Manchester and probably well aware of the front-line cuts. (Come to think of it, haven't seen him around lately.)

    Habib - you are also a Manchester resident, are you not?

  96. This comment has been removed by the author.

  97. OK - going to get some food, so anyone can get their revenge for when I come back.

    Does anyone remember the lobster passage in Chuck Palahniuk's book - Survivor[?]

    An occasion when I just carefully closed the book and felt very sick for quite some time.

    PS Obviously, when I say lobster passage, I mean a sequence of text - not a lobster's bottom.

  98. Most of my family's there, and mostly in quite deprived areas (Langworthy, Moston, Moss Side). I'm really worried about the implications for my disabled aunt, who is incredibly dependent on council based support. It just seems an absolute decimation.

  99. Fucking hell that Monbiot article is chilling.

  100. Good evening all.

    Hope Montana is feeling a lttle better now. Migriane + asmatha + the big chill sounds like too much to cope with to me.


    Manchester is just the shape of things to come for the Labour controlled councils, which have been penalised by bigger spending cuts than non-Labour councils. The data on just how deep the spending cuts are in those areas is all here in The Gruan's Datablog.

    On a lighter note, it's time for a choon *

    My household is well into this little guy.

    * cover your ears, Jen, if you're lurking.

  101. BB - isn't it. Yet nothing we didn't already suspect.

  102. BB

    Not really, just plain hard facts laid bare which are having an incendairy effect on my heckles.

  103. MsC

    plain hard facts laid bare which are having an incendairy effect on my heckles.

    Mine too - Can't say I'm surprised but the absolute blatant disregard they obviously have for the poor bloody infantry is really fueling my revolutionary spirit - we should all be taking a leaf out of the Egyptians book and we could start by having a serious think about what we should be doing.

  104. Perhaps Denis means "submit expense claims to power".

  105. Well, didn't MacShane once make an intern cry because she was trying to explain the new expenses rules to him?

    So, for 'sticking it to the man', we should probably read, 'giving uncalled for shit to unpaid volunteers, who are only trying to stop lying, thieving cunts like me from taking the piss. Again!'.

    Fuck yeah, you gotz to fight da power, indeed!!

  106. I'm lilking the deep dive on the Google home page today.

  107. Silly quiz time on Waddya. Just about my level atm.

  108. My answers, without even looking at the questions, are:

    1)Jaffa Cakes
    3)teh menz
    4)Aida, Verdi

    Do I win?

  109. As in, correct?

    Because, if so, like Meatloaf said, one out of six ain't bad!!

  110. Don't know about correct... but it was the one that appealed to me most.

  111. Ahh, right. Fair enough! Cunt is a regular crowd pleaser*!!

    *'cept if it's the penz usin' it, obviously. Because then "it's a meta attack on the patriarchal oppression of, not only women, but the poor and disenfranchised the world over, forming an etymological building block on which the foundations of my, I mean, our, glorious revolution can be built, without fear, heralding a new age of human togetherness, and some other ideas what I thought about when I suffered the trauma of once having to kip on a friends sofa for a couple of nights, and they didn't even have Sky fucking plus!!"

  112. I've gone done a MsChin, haven't I?

    Erm, sorry 'bout that!!

    Night all.

  113. Quiet on here tonight. Is it just me or is everyone else just winching their lower jaw from the floor after reading the Monbiot article?

    Absolutely unbe-bastard-fucking-lievable.

    No wonder everyone is speeehless!

  114. Hello,

    "Anyone on here from Manchester? I'm just reading the litany of cuts and it's making me feel a bit queasy to be honest."

    Yeah, if you don't have any money to spend or worth to the business community, you could well be fucked. So no luxuries in life like libraries, swimming pools, or care homes.

    Good news, though, the gangster-owned Mark Addy pub is to be saved from a compulsory purchase order.

    Seriously, poor people of Manchester! Do crime! It keeps your granny off the streets.

  115. If Libya wasn't responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, why did it pay $2.7bn to compensate families of the victims?

    And why in 2003 did it hand over a letter to a United Nations Security Council meeting formally taking responsibility.

    It also paid a $33m compensation package for the families of the 170 people who died when a French aircraft went down over Niger in 1989.

    It's a strange world you live in Spike. As I said yesterday - conspiracies everywhere for you.

    What's your take in 9/11?

  116. Evening All

    Jesse Norman prospective conservative something - writing on CiF.

    How does one party manage to concentrate so many dimwits in its ranks ?

    Guiness Book of Records material.

  117. "How does one party manage to concentrate so many dimwits in its ranks ?"

    Good question Leni. I went to school with these tossers so blame me for not flagging up the scam before. I honestly thought some one much more intelligent than I would expose their fraud for what it is. Sorry about that!

  118. chekhov

    you should have poisoned the soup when you had the chance - remembering not to eat any yourself of course.

  119. Chekhov

    Why aren't you using the Old Boy's network - get in touch with your old school mates. You could become a lord and change the world.

    No excuses - get to it and sort things out.

  120. @Leni: yeah it's easy to know what I should have done but what do I do now?

  121. "Why aren't you using the Old Boy's network - get in touch with your old school mates. You could become a lord and change the world."

    That's not how the "Old School Tie" network actually works.

    I was always an "outsider" because my Dad was from the working class.
    They were quite happy to take his money but that was enough...no way into the ruling elite for trailer trash!

  122. More than half the donations raked in by David Cameron's Tories last year came from the City, research has suggested.

    Financial services firms and individuals donated £11.4m to the party in the first nine months of 2010, according to figures compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.


    Who said money doesn't buy influence ?

  123. BTW; the fact that I was pretty useless academically didn't help!

  124. chekhov

    The world needs people with good old common sense and the ability to care about people. These the elite lack.

  125. ""The world needs people with good old common sense and the ability to care about people. These the elite lack."

    Nowt to disgree with there Leni!